MILWAUKEE (CN) – One hundred police officers say Milwaukee unfairly gave the Journal-Sentinel newspaper copies of their disciplinary records. After a reporter sought the records in a FOIA request, the Milwaukee Police Association says the city should have given it 3 days notice that the records would be released.
In November 2009 Journal-Sentinel reporter Gina Barton made an Open Records request to see the “demerits section” of what is known as the “Hard Cards” of all sworn Milwaukee police officers, including the chief of police.
The cards contain the disciplinary histories of the officers and any actions that have been taken as a result.
Barton’s sought records on all of the more than 1,500 police officers holding nonsupervisory positions that make up the Milwaukee Police Association Local 21 IUPA AFL-CIO.
The Association says state law require a 3-day notice when a decision has been made to comply with certain types of Open Records requests.
The statute mandates release of records that are both kept by an authority and are related to disciplinary matters – seemingly what Barton’s request encompassed.
But the cops say Milwaukee released the information without notification. The city began with a “test run” of 30 randomly selected officers and then released information on 70 more.
Most of the officers are believed to be Association members and they fear that the release disciplinary histories will continue without notice.
The Association wants 3 days notice and costs. It is represented in Milwaukee County Court by Jonathan Cermele.